Sunday, 31 May 2020

Scribe

I would like to talk about Sumerian writing: Cuneiform. Actually about their words for "write" and "tablet, document"...


Cuneiform emerged in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC to convey the Sumerian language, "a language isolate which has no relationship with any other language"...It is one of the earliest known systems of writing...

Cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms...


In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract, eventually turning into symbols...


The pictograms (later symbols) were were cut on clay tablets, using a blunt reed for a stylus. Basically, cuneiform writing was "making marks on clay using chiseling technique"...





Now, the word for writing in sumerian was "sar, šar" written using this symbol:


And the word for tablet, document was "dub" written using this symbol:


Unsurprisingly the word for a scribe was "dub-sar" (tablet, document-writer):


And scribes learned their trade in "e-dub-ba-a" house of documents writing 

Here is a very interesting thing. 

Sumerian document (dub) was clay tablet (dub) with patterns, symbols gouged, chiselled, written (sar, šar) into it...

In Serbian, the word for chiselling, gouging is "dub" and the word for "making patterns, symbols" is "šar"...

So Sumerian dub-šar (scribe) literally means "one who gouges, chisels patterns, symbols" in Serbian...

Eee what? 

How can such important words in Sumerian, language isolate, have roots in Serbian, totally unrelated IE language, which only appeared after Sumerian language died out?

Now this must be a complete coincidence, a fluke. But unfortunately this is just another example where we find Slavic words related to very important words found in Sumerian. 

Like words related to knowledge...You can read more about this in my post "Um"

Or

Like words related to grain agriculture...You can read more about this in my posts "Breath" and "Sickle"

I don't have an explanation for this madness, but...Have a look at this: 

The Vinča symbols, sometimes known as the Vinča script are a set of symbols found on Neolithic artefacts from the Vinča culture (6th to 5th mill BC) from Central Europe with its centre in Serbia...


And these are the Tărtăria tablets, discovered in 1961 at a Vinča culture site in the village of Tărtăria, in Romania. Originally dated to c. 5300 BC. 


Looks familiar?

Here is the best bit. Apparently archaeologists are now proposing much later date, based on the signs!!! And are dating tablets to 2,750 BC-3,300 BC, when Sumerian proto-writing, otherwise known as dub-šar :), was developed...

Now to conclude. I actually believe that Sumerian is a language isolate. And is not related to IE languages, including Serbian. But It is annoying that we keep finding these isolated, important words in Sumerian with IE roots...Why? As I said I have no explanation of this madness...

But we can't just ignore all this...Right?

Sumerian dictionaries:

Sumerian cuneiform English dictionary ed. Peter & Tara Hogan
Sumerian Lexicon Version 3.0 by John A. Halloran
The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary


Saturday, 30 May 2020

Baboon

This is a beautiful Menat, a sacred necklace/instrument of the Goddess Hathor, the Deified Nile flood. 


It depicts goddess Tefnut and god Shu. You can read more about this amazing artefact and its meaning in my post "Menat". 

Tefnut (literally "That Water") was the deity of moisture in Ancient Egypt. She is the twin sister and wife of the air god Shu...What do you get when you marry rain and air? Monsoon which feeds the Nile flood. 

In the earlier Pyramid Texts she is said to produce pure waters from her vagina...So when one day, she got pissed off :) with Egyptians for taking the piss :) and not giving her enough kudos, she stopped producing pure waters from her vagina, and pissed off :) to Nubia...

There, Tefnut, in a form of an angry lioness, became the terror of the land, attacking both men and animals. She blew smoke and fire from her nostrils and eyes and fed on the flesh and blood of her victims...

Leo, the end of summer, beginning of autumn, the time of maximum heat and no rain, would be the time of droughts and death in Egypt, if it weren't for Tefnut, the monsoon moisture which feeds the Nile...It is this moisture that transforms Leo into time of inundation and life...

Sun god Ra, Tefnut's father, missed his daughter and so he sent Shu (Tefnut's husband) and Thoth (god of wisdom) as his emissaries to ask her to return home. Of course he missed her. Because no Tefnut means no Nile. And no Nile means no Egypt. And no Egypt means no Ra...

For some weird reason, Thoth, disguised himself as a baboon (!!!) and went looking for Tefnut.


When he finally found her (which was probably not that hard, he just had to fallow the trail of destruction), he tried to persuade her to go back to Egypt. First he told her that she should go back to Egypt because it was a much more civilised place than the wilds of the Nubian desert...Blah blah blah...Seeing that the mention of civilisation didn't really have much effect on the crazed murderous fire breathing lioness, Thoth then said that Tefnut should go back to Egypt because of her worshipers. They adore her and miss her and would throw huge party in her honour if she returns and would place on her altars the game she was now having to run down and kill for herself...OooooK...Listening...

At that moment Tefnut's husband and twin brother Shu joined in, and he eventually persuaded Tefnut to go (back) to Egypt...Well moisture (Tefnut) can't go anywhere without wind (Shu)...

Tefnut's return trip became a triumphant procession through the Egyptian villages, just like Thoth promised. The goddess, accompanied by Nubian musicians, clowns, and baboons (???) was greeted by people who rejoiced in her presence, and wild drunken festivals were held in her honour...

As Tefnut progressed down the Nile, she lost her ferocity and became kind and gentle again and the heavenly flow returned :) 

Self explanatory, right? 

Well, all except the baboons. I mean WTF? Why did Thoth dress up like a baboon? And why did baboons follow Tefnut back to Egypt?

Well this monkey business is very important for understanding this story. Forget about Thoth's yapping about civilisation and such crap. That did nothing. It was the baboon costume :) that did it...It was the fact that Thoth was dressed as baboon that made Tefnut return to Egypt...

The baboon Thoth disguised himself as was not just any baboon. It was Hamadryas baboon. 


From Ethiopian highlands. The same place where monsoon (Tefnut-moisture + Shu-wind) causes enormous precipitations between May and August. Which is the source of the great flood, which is the source of life in Egypt...

Guess what? Hamdryas baboon mating habits are really interesting. Hamadryas baboons don't have a breeding season. Instead, they breed year-round with "peak period in May-July"...At the exact time when the monsoon arrives...

So you could say that Hamadryas baboon "brings forth Tefnut (moisture, rain)". Well actually it's her "husband" Shu (wind) who finally "brings her forth", but it is Thoth (baboon) who "persuades" her to return...

And so the "moisture from the wind" (monsoon rain), pisses :) on the Ethiopian highlands (and on pissed off :) wet baboons). 


And from there it flows as Nile to Nubia and then to Egypt. The triumphant return of Tefnut (accompanied by Nubian musicians, clowns, and baboons :))

Now here is something that I just discovered about the baboons in Ancient Egypt: They were often depicted picking sycamore figs...


Some people think that this means that Egyptians trained baboons to pick the figs for them. 

Well, these ones don't look like they have any intention of giving any figs to the people. They are too busy eating them...It is the man actually picking the figs...I don't think this is the correct interpretation of these images...

Here is what I think: Sycamore fig was "the tree of life" of the Ancient Egyptians. Here is Goddess Hathor, the Nile flood deified, the source of grain and life, depicted coming out of a sycamore tree bringing bread to people...


Why?

Here's why: "Sycamore has three main harvests: May, June, August/September". So basically, the sacred tree of Hathor, was full of orange-red ripe fruit from May, beginning of monsoon which was the source of the great flood, until September, the end of the great flood...

You can read more about the animal and plant symbolism related to the Nile flood in my article "Holy Cow"...  

Did I mention that the peak mating season of the Hamadryas baboons, the ones who "persuade Tefnut, the rain water, to go Egypt", starts in May, the exact time when the sycamore fig harvest starts?

Could the depictions of the baboons in sycamore trees stuffing themselves with figs be symbolic? Like "The baboons are stealing our figs! Rejoice! Tefnut's vagina is back in business! The heavenly flow (the flood) will reach us soon..." Or something like this?

Anyway...It's gonna rain here soon. Gotta go for a walk before it starts...Take care...And don't look up when it's raining. Who knows what you might see :)

Friday, 29 May 2020

Crocus fairy

There is a Sicilian legend about the boy who set out to sell a basket of grapes. 



On his way to the market he met an old woman who asked him if she could eat the grapes because she was very hungry. The boy did so, and after she ate most of his grapes, the old woman turned into a beautiful young girl wearing a purple cloak. She then told him to go home and plant the remaining grapes. As he did so he found gold coins beneath them in the basket. The grapes grew into purple crocus. 

This is very interesting. 

In Sicily the grape harvest runs between August and November. So the story takes place probably end of October beginning of November...

The end of grapes picking season in Sicily overlaps with the beginning of the rain season (October). 



Which is also the time when wild crocuses start blooming in Sicily. 



Which is why the last remaining grapes when planted grew into purple crocuses...

And crocus is the source of saffron, which has always been worth its weight in gold...I talked about this in my post "Saffron"...



So the legend actually describes real things that happen every year in Sicily. You finish grape harvest and start gold (saffron) harvest...

The old woman would then be the Old Hag, Winter earth (November, December, January)...But who in Eastern Mediterranean is also a beautiful young maiden, Winter earth (November, December, January)...???

:) It's complicated...It's to do with East mediterranean climate...Have a look at these posts:

"Goat riding thunder god" "Abdication of Persephone"

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Solar Ibex from Aeolis

Pottery dinos with friezes of grazing wild goats (Ibex). Ancient Greece, Aeolis, 610BC-570BC (circa). Currently in British Museum.



Why Ibexes with swastikas and suns?

Ibex mating season starts in Oct-Nov and ends in Jan, basically spanning the winter season. Which is why Ibex is the symbol of winter.



You can read more about this in my post "Symbols of seasons".

Right in the middle of the mating periods of both Alpine and Bezoar ibex is Winter Solstice, 21st of December. And the day after the winter solstice is the beginning of the Capricorn (goat) period, which last from December 22 – January 20...


You can read more about the origin of Capricorn in my post "Goat". And about the link between the goat, the sun and winter zodiac signs in my post "Zlatorog"...

In Eastern Mediterranean, winter is the rain season, the season of life. Which is why Ibex was symbol of Life in all the Eastern Mediterranean cultures...Like in Minoan Crete...



You can read more about this in my posts "Goat riding thunder god", "Sanctuary rhyton" and "Saffron"

The beginning of the Ibex mating season (October-November) was also the time when grain was planted in Eastern Mediterranean...Grain which is then used for making breads...Like this solar bread from Croatia which has the same type of swirly swastika found on the dinos next to the goat...



So 

Ibex = New Grain, New Life

But also 

Ibex = New Sun, New Solar year. 

Swastika in Slavic folklore is known as "kolovrt" (what spins the wheel, or what spins in circle) and represents never ending spinning of the solar wheel, solar year...Which starts during Ibex mating season...

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Ploughing

Another very interesting 3rd millennium BC Akkadian cylinder seal from Tell Asmar, currently in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. It depicts a very unusual ploughing scene...Which i would like to interpret...


To the right of the first figure is the symbol for grain.


So this is grain field ploughing...We find this symbol in Indus Valley civilisation artefacts too...

This is the end of the "normal" and "expected" stuff on this seal. The rest is...Well mythology...

Or is it?

The plough is pulled by, what is commonly interpreted as, a snake or a dragon. I would say dragon. Under the dragon is a lion. Above the dragon is a scorpion.


Why?

Well it's all about solar zodiac, again. On that climatic, biological (not stellar) zodiac, animals are used to mark significant reoccurring events in the solar year. Like a lifecycle event of that animal, which happens every year at the same time and which everyone knows about.

For instance lion marks the time when Eurasian lions start mating. This happens in September for Asian lions, but might have earlier happen in August for European and middle Eastern lions...

And scorpion marks the time when Eurasian scorpions "disappear" (start hibernating, hide from cold), which happens in late October early November...

You can read more about solar zodiac here.

What does this have to do with ploughing of grain fields in Mesopotamia? Well according to their agricultural calendar:

1. The first ploughing of the barley fields was done in August-September. During Leo...
2. The second ploughing+sowing was done in October-November. During Scorpio...


Neat, right? But what about the dragon pulling the plough?

Well, the climatic year in Mesopotamia is divided into two parts: Dry season from May to October and Wet(er :)) season from November to April. Look at the rain table for Mesopotamia. Late May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Early Oct - 0.0 mm rain...


Now the dry part of the year, summer-autumn, starts in Taurus. Taurus is where it is in the Solar zodiac, because it marks the beginning of the calving season of the Eurasian wild cattle. You can read more about this here.

Well, normally Mesopotamian seals depicting ploughing show ploughs being pulled by oxen, bulls.


The end of summer, when bulls are used for first ploughing, is the time when Eurasian wild cattle start their mating season which is characterised by vicious raging bull fights...The end of summer is also the timeof droughts,  the time of the fire breathing, drought causing dragons (you can read more about the link between dragons and drought here)...And interestingly, there are indications that dragons and bulls were interchangeable symbols. You can read more about the links between dragons and bulls here.

Is this why bull was replaced by a dragon as the animal pulling the plough? To indicate that the first ploughing was to be done at the of maximum droughts, symbolised by raging bull/dragon?

All of this accidentally :) happens in Leo...

I am not sure...This dragon thingy is quite puzzling alright...

Now here is something very interesting. Star Sirius is positioned right above the plough. Why?


In the second part of the 3rd millennium BC, the time when this seal was made, Sirius was rising in Iraq in in the morning before the sunrise, in Leo, at the time of the first ploughing. And it was setting in Iraq in the morning before the sunrise in Scorpio, at the time of the second ploughing and sowing...

Now I used Stellarium computer simulation program for these calculations...If they are correct, and I don't doubt they are, this explains why Sirius is positioned right above the plough...And this is truly amazing...

So, the picture is kind of a grain ploughing solar calendar.

And it reads:

Plough the fields first time when lions start mating...And Sirius is rising before the sun...
Plough the field second time and sow the fields when scorpions disappear...And Sirius is setting before the sun...

Well maybe, or maybe this is all just mythology...Gods, monsters...

Just to add some more detail. In Mesopotamia people used two types of ploughs.

The ploughing plough :) used in Leo for breaking the soil.


The Sowing plough, used in Scorpio for furrowing, sowing and covering


And just to see that I am not just inventing stuff here, here is another seal, showing sowing plough used in Scorpio...


Is that Sirius again above the plough?

I wonder what birds are flying all around...


I think this is a common crane.


The common crane lives in Northern Eurasia, but winters in Southern Asia and North Africa, Including Mesopotamia.


According to "Cranes of the World: Eurasian Crane (Grus grus)" by Paul A. Johnsgard, Cranes gather  in huge numbers in Eastern Turkey in late September early October, from where they fly down to the marshlands of Mesopotamia...Right in time for sowing...

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Priapus

This is Priapus, Ancient Greek god of the male reproductive power and fertility and the fertility of nature in general. Allegedly he originated in Hellespont from where his cult moved to the Balkans and then throughout Greek and later Roman world...


Priapus was a peasant god, god of shepherds, farmers and beekeepers...For Classical Greek city dwellers he was apparently "a bit of a joke"...What else could be expected from the city people who lost touch with nature...

The Olimpians definitely couldn't stick him. They refused to allow him to live on Mount Olympus and threw him down to Earth...Which is where the archaic god of fertility should be living anyway...

It is interesting that such an obviously single role god doesn't have a name that denotes his function: fertility...The official etymology says: "Latin Priapus, from Ancient Greek Πρίαπος (Príapos), the origin of his name is unknown. The name may have originated from the Hellespont, the birthplace of his cult“

I want here to thank Aleksandar Miladinović who alerted me the fact that maybe the name of Priapus actually does denote his function. Just not in Greek. Or Latin...

Have a look at this:

Sanskrit: प्रिय (priya) – love, kindness, favour, pleasure, beloved, dear, liked, favourite, wanted, lover, husband
Serbian (Pan-Slavic): prija - what is nice, good, beneficial, pleasant
Avestan: 𐬟𐬭𐬌𐬌𐬀‎ (friia) - dear, beloved, friend, well-wisher
Germanic: *frijōną - to love, to free

From PIE "preyH-" (to love, to please)

Sanskrit: याभ (yAbha) – to have a sexual intercourse
Serbian (Pan-Slavic): jeb (yeb) - to have a sexual intercourse
Ancient Greek: οἴφω (oíphō) - to have a sexual intercourse

From PIE "h₃yebʰ-" (to penetrate, to enter, to copulate)

Sanskrit: priya+yAbha=prijaba=priap - enjoy+sexual intercourse=love=procreation=fertility
Serbian: prija+jeb=prijeb=priap - enjoy+sexual intercourse=love=procreation=fertility

I presume this is quite suiteble name for a god of fertility with a giant erection...

Considering that Ancient Greek doesn't have a word for love based on the PIE root "priHós" the name Πρίαπος (Príapos) could not be of Greek origin...

Considering that only Slavic and Sanskrit have both words required to create Priapus's name, it is one either Slavic or Indian culture where we should look for the origin of Priapus...

We know about Siva lingam worship...


It could be tempting to propose that the name came to Greece from India after the Alexander's campaigns there. But I don't know of any Indian deity whose name sounds like Priap...And the dates don't match...

The first extant mention of Priapus is in the eponymous comedy Priapus, written in the 4th century BC by Xenarchus. He was already taking the piss out of Priapus at the beginning of the 4th century BC...

Greeks in Lampsacus in Asia Minor, where the cult of Priapus is said to have originated, already minted Gold staters with the ivy-wreathed head of Dionysus/Priapus between 360–340BC.


Alexander was not born until 356BC and he died during the Indian campaign in 323BC. So I don't think we should look at India as the place from where Priapus came to Greece wielding his giant dick...

So what's left?

A giant coincidence?

One last thing. Did I mention that the PIE root "h₃yebʰ-" which apparently "originally meant "to enter, penetrate" with a semantic narrowing to "copulate" can in Slavic languages be broken into "je" + "bo" = her + pierce, stab, penetrate = copulate....

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Poppies

I came across this interesting artefact recently.



The artefact turns out to be from Urartu and is forehead part of the horse head gear. It is currently kept in Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum.




It was dated to c. 800BC

Urartu is a geographical region commonly used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic Armenian Highlands (present-day eastern Anatolia).



The symbols depicted on this artefacts are very interesting indeed.

The "god", I presume it's a god, is riding on a bull. He is standing in the middle of (wearing) a flying winged disc, usually symbol for the sun and he has what looks like sun disc on his crown. And the whole metal thingy is shaped like a sun with rays pointing upward...

But he couldn't be a sun god.

Because there is only one god in Urartian pantheon which rides on a bull: Theispas the thunder god. He is basically the same god as the Hurian Teshub and Luwian Tarhunz...

And all these gods "ride on a bull" and cary a trident (symbol of lightning)...

And so does the guy on the above artefact. He rides on a bull and holds a trident in each hand...

Or does he?

Here is the close up of one of the "tridents":



To me this looks very very vey much like this: opium poppies...



But why would a storm god cary opium poppies?

Have a look at this:

The planting of poppies throughout the poppy growing regions of the Balkans, Asia Minor and Middle East takes place in the autumn, from September to December, depending on the locality...

If the plant survives the winter, it requires ample rain in between March and May.

The rainfall pattern in the Anatolian (Armenian) plateau

Here is the average precipitation in eastern Anatolian plateau, lake Van region, the land of Urartians and Hurians. The rain peaks in April.


In the rest of the Anatolian plateau, the land of the Hittites, the rain peaks in May.


Taurus Taurus (20 April – 21 May) covers the maximum rain, maximum thunderstorm season in both of these areas.

Which is why, I believe, Urartian Theispas, Hurrian Teshub, Luwian Tarhunz...All ride on a bull...



And cary tridents



Hmmm...Trident's you say...Why tridents? 

But Taurus doesn't only bring rain to Anatolian (Armenian) plateau. It also brings summer. 

As you can see in the above precipitation tables, the May-June is when the rains stop and the hot weather starts. Exactly what opium poppies need to flower and ripen:



I already wrote in my posts "Ram and bull" and "Symbols of the seasons", about the bull being the symbol of the summer.




The summer starts at the beginning of May, during wild Eurasian cattle calving season and ends at the beginning of August, during wild Eurasian cattle mating season...

Bull is the true symbol of summer...

And summer is the main opium poppy harvesting season:

In Turkey, opium poppy harvest season starts in May...
In Afghanistan, the opium poppy harvest season starts in late April early May...
In Iraq, the opium poppy harvest season starts in late April early May...
In Iran, the opium poppy harvest season starts in later April early May...



In the Balkans, the opium poppy harvest season starts in May...

These are stills from an amazing Macedonian documentary from 1955 called Rhythm And Sound. Showing poppy harvesting. 






You can find video here: part 1part 2

Basically opium poppies are harvested during the summer, symbolised by the bull. The bull, or more precisely the guy on the bull, the pusher, brings the poppies...

So here are some questions:

1. Is the guy on the Urartian artefact the thunder god? I presume he is a god and not a stoned acrobat...
2. Is he carrying poppies to announce the beginning of the opium harvest season? Sort of: The pusher's here!!! The Thunder dude!!! It's party time!!!
3. Did the trident, the symbol of thunder gods, develop from poppies? 

What do you think?

Great source of information about the cultivation of poppies in the Balkans, Asia Minor and Middle East is this article entitled "Some Observations on the Cultivation of Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) for Its Latex" by A. D. Krikorian and Myron C. Ledbetter

What is very interesting as well is that apparently, opium poppies were "...most likely first cultivated for human use in Asia Minor or in the Balkans..." according to "Troubling Fields: The Opium Poppy in Egypt" by Joseph J. Hobbs

So the link between the poppies harvest, which starts right after the Thunder gods bring thunderstorms in Taurus, during the calving of the wild cattle, was very strong in the area from the beginning...